Oliver W. Petty Interview, August 11, 1986


Oliver W. Petty


Gregg Phifer



Download Audio Interview (56.9 MB)

Download Transcript of Oliver Petty Interview (340 KB)


Oliver Petty talks about being part of the first group of smokejumpers trained at Seeley Lake, Montana, in 1943. He recalls spending the summers of 1943-1945 in the smokejumper unit, and spending the winters of 1943 and 1944 doing soil conservation work at the camp in Glendora, California. Petty describes his training, and setting up the camp at Big Prairie, Montana, where he was stationed. He talks about a few of his 29 jumps, including a few where he jumped in order to be the camp cook on a fire. He discusses life in the base camp, including an encounter with a bear. Petty talks about his life after the war, and his career as a beekeeper. He finishes by reflecting on the experience of being a conscientious objector, and talks about how his children enjoy coming to the smokejumper reunions.


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Document Type

Oral History


Civilian Public Service; Conscientious objectors, United States; Smokejumpers, Montana; World War, 1939-1945; 4-E classification; Christian Church; Smokejumper training; Seeley Lake; Beekeeping; Forestry

Original Date


Time Period

Twentieth century

Geographic Coverage




Original Collection

Civilian Public Service Smokejumpers Oral History Project, OH 163, Archives and Special Collections, Mansfield Library, University of Montana-Missoula

Digital Publisher

University of Montana--Missoula. Mansfield Library


Copyright to this collection is held by the interview participants and by the Maureen and Mike Mansfield Library, University of Montana-Missoula. Permission may be required for use. For further information please contact Archives and Special Collections: (406) 243-2053 / library.archives@umontana.edu

Oral History Number

OH 163-030

Media Type

Sound; Text

Original Format

1 sound cassette (01:30:00 min.) analog + 1 transcript (17 p.: 28 cm.)

Digital Format

audio/mp3; application/pdf

Run Time

00:45:21 minutes

Local Filename

OH_163_030.mp3; OH_163_030.pdf

Oliver W. Petty Interview, August 11, 1986